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  • Writer's pictureMonica Kay Royal

Continuous Learning for the Data Professional

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

I was on the LightsOnData Show this morning with George Firican & Diana Andreea Firican!! Check out the show on the Podcast, YouTube, or LinkedIn

Takeaways from the session:

My passion for continuous learning started because it was a requirement for me while working at my first job as an auditor at an accounting firm. I realized that this is essential for all professionals in order to keep up with the field they are in since things change constantly (and quickly in the case for us data nerds).

Goals setting can be hard. I think of goals as aspirations / themes and treat them as a habit.

Some like to share their goals on social media to keep themselves accountable for achieving them.

SMART goals is a good method to follow when creating goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound)

If goals are forced, or seems forced, they are harder to follow. Also, if they are too large of goals then they may seem unachievable. One thing that can help is to break them down into smaller chunks (tiny goals).

I am a fan of the book, Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. He presents creating goals as a math equation and walks through how to modify the different variables in order to achieve your desired behavior. Motivation can fluctuate, can be unreliable, and that is ok. It is important to note the feelings and still make some progress.

Learning can be defined in two ways: things that are new and things that are considered to be the foundation of your practice. Revisiting your fundamentals is key, especially for data professionals.

Different ways to learn: read, take courses and/or bootcamps, have a conversation with an expert, work with a mentor, listen to podcasts

Kate Strachnyi inspired me to start creating content and 100daysofcode from Alex Kallaway inspired my #100daysoflearning. 2 rules: 1) learn something for x minutes a day 2) post about what you learned on social media

During this challenge, I found the 21/90 rule and my challenge turned into #111daysoflearning. I wanted to continue this vibe so I created #nerdnourishment (I am a nerd, I talk about nerd things, these things will nourish and grow your brain).

I am a huge fan on checklists. This helps with motivation and makes you feel good when you check things off your list. Make sure to periodically check the list throughout the day for progress. At the end of the day you can celebrate! (and it's ok to write things on the list that you already got done, just to check it off 😊)

Taking breaks is critical to refocus. What you do during the break is up to you: go for a walk, meditate, do yoga, or DANCE! Breaks can be based on a time-frame (#-minutes) or a feeling of fatigue.

I have seen a huge spike in people taking courses during the pandemic. What you do with the learnings from these courses is what makes it a positive impact, solidifies what you learned, and makes it meaningful.

My life changed from participating in the #111daysoflearning because it gave me a chance to really step outside of my comfort zone. I am still an introvert, but more of a confident introvert. And although I am a terrible artist, Diana says that I can consider myself to be an abstract artist. I'm running with that, thank you Diana!

Tips from Behind the Scenes

Tips for guests:

  • While putting together a script for this sort of thing is nearly impossible, it is good to know what you are going to talk about beforehand. Writing down bullet points is a good exercise.

  • Join the session prior to go-live to meet the host, panel, etc. This helps a bit with the nerves.

Tips for hosts:

These are things that I learned from George that made this experience the best. I will apply these to my own podcast hosting duties.

  • Talk with the guest personally (not via email) before the show. You can ask then to be a guest via email, but get to know them a bit more so your conversation during the show isn't too awkward.

  • Make sure that the topic is something that the guest is comfortable with. You can modify it a bit to fit your brand, but the overall topic should come from the guest.

  • Send instructions for the platform (George put together a video which was an awesome personal touch!)

  • Send an agenda / flow of the session. This helps the guest feel prepared.

Thank you for having me on the show, it was an honor 😊

Happy New Year!

and as always...
Happy Learning!!


If you are interested in continuously learning about topics like data analytics, check out this article by Benjamin Rogojan, Improving your Data Analytics Infrastructure in 2023 - Part 1

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